Hop on the Hayling Ferry with your bike

This is the article we submitted for the December edition of the Hayling Islander. The published article was subject to editing by the Islander.

Congratulations to Colin Hill and the Hayling Ferry for winning Havant Small Business of the Year, and Greatest Contribution to the Community. Very well deserved.

A bike over the ferry is the perfect way to get to Portsmouth, and when I’ve used it recently, it’s always been full of cyclists. It’s a lovely ride along Hayling and Southsea sea fronts, and pretty safe.

A huge factor in its success has been sticking to the timetable, so you can be sure of making an appointment.

But if you’re at the pontoon facing a long wait, and there are more than one or two of you, its worth giving Colin a ring – he doesn’t rule out a special trip if he’s available (but say thank you).

As part of the 2036 Local Plan, Havant Borough Council is asking residents to complete a transport survey, including cycling, and the state of the Billy Trail.

If we don’t, the council and any future planning inspector might assume we’re all happy with transport and cycle facilities on the island.

Please fill it in, and especially asking for a proper surface on the Billy Trail.

The deadline is the 10th December. It’s at havant.gov.uk/hayling-survey, or paper copies at the library and the community centre.

A real watershed. Portsmouth City Council has just voted to commit at least 10% of its local transport budget to cycling.

Many islanders cycle in Portsmouth. Being flat and a student city, it’s big on cycling and has pretty good cycle infrastructure (compared to Hayling).

But it’s also quite big on accidents, so there’s lots more to do.

It’s a tribute to the tireless campaigning of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, also known as PompeyBug, the Bicycle User Group, and to Cycling UK’s Space for Cycling campaign.

So we’ll be holding Portsmouth council to it, and making sure it leads to real improvements in cycling, not just a spinning class.

And we’ll be asking Havant and Hampshire councillors to commit to the same.

Take a look, at portsmouthctc.org.uk/portsmouth-10pc-on-cycling.

Cycling UK, previously Cycle Touring Club (CTC), is the UK’s biggest cycling charity, and we campaign for everyday cycling and touring (as distinct from racing).

Our local Cycling UK group is Portsmouth CTC, and many of its 250 members are from Portsmouth, but most of this year’s 251 rides started at Havant.

We’re a very friendly club, with rides of all types, on every day except Mondays; why not try us out?

Christmas is coming, and we have some great present ideas for cyclists, from £1 upwards. You don’t need to spend a fortune.

A good bell starts at £1, and pedestrians and dog walkers will thank you.

Be safe, be seen, with hi-vis clothing and good lights.

We love the tiny USB rechargeable LED lights, slow flashing for better visibility and battery life. I’ve seen them from £1.50, but £10 to £15 might be a better guide.

If you put them on charge as soon as you get home, like your phone, they’ll always be ready.

Look for ones with rubber straps, for instant fitting and removing.

Hi-vis velcro straps start at a couple of pounds, while a hi-vis gilet or rucksack cover can be almost as cheap. Hi-vis gloves and helmet covers will also keep you warm.

A hi-vis cycling rain jacket is also windproof and warm. Fully breathable GoreTex jackets are great, but for everyday cycling up to 5 or 8 miles, much cheaper semi-breathable jackets are available.

A stolen bike is heart-breaking. The more expensive the bike, the more it’s worth spending on a lock. Cable locks are cheaper and easier, but less secure than a good brand D-lock (rated ‘sold secure’ gold or silver).

But having both lets you loop the cable through wheels, or attach to bigger anchor points, such as trees.

Ideally, they’ll be mounted on the bike, so you don’t forget them or need a carry bag.

A puncture repair kit, a cyclist’s multi-tool, or even spare inner tubes are always useful.

Punctures are a pain, so puncture resistant tyres like Schwalbe Marathon Plus might re-pay their £25 cost in inner tubes alone, especially if your tyres need renewing anyway.

Modern tiny hand pumps are good to carry with you, but for home use, you can’t beat a track pump with a pressure gauge.

And new bikes have never been cheaper or better value. For everyday cycling on a flat island, a cheaper bike will get you there almost as fast, with less worry about it being stolen.

Why not a folding bike that fits in your car boot, and takes almost no space at home? Perfect for Park & Ride to work – it could even pay for itself.

Decathlon folders offer fantastic value, starting from £129. In the £400+ range, Tern and Dahon have a great reputation for riding experience.

But for commuting and brilliant folding, you can’t beat Brompton; they’re expensive, but they hold their value very well.

Where to buy? Hayling Cycles in Elm Grove do good offers, good advice, and bike maintenance. Now that cycling is mainstream, stores like Hayling Hardware, Tesco and Wilko are great value, and Aldi run special offers.

For wider choice, Havant now has Halfords and Evans, or you can go online.

If you’re not sure what to get, buy a voucher!

The Christmas and New Year period is always quiet on the roads, so it’s a great time to go out for a ride with family or friends, try your presents out and burn off all that Christmas pudding. Have a merry Christmas.